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COSTA MESA : Building on Spirit of Volunteerism

More than 600 volunteers are scheduled to do renovation work on 11 homes and three buildings in Costa Mesa today as part of a nationwide building drive.

As part of a nationwide program called Christmas in April, volunteers will repair the homes of the poor and elderly and also buildings used by nonprofit organizations. The Junior League of Orange County is the local program sponsor. The program has set a national goal to repair 3,500 homes and buildings today with the help of more than 125,000 volunteers.

The adult day-care center at a community center at 661 W. Hamilton St. will be one such building.

Home Depot lumber salesman Scott Whitacre said he will lead co-workers from the Santa Ana store in painting and carpeting the five rooms occupied by the Harbor Area Adult Day Care Center. The group also plans to install blinds, fluorescent lights, raised planters and a garden box.

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Whitacre said his store is donating most of the materials, and about 40 members of the staff are volunteering. He said the store takes part yearly in the Christmas in April project.

Steve Prather, director of the day care center, said the repair work comes at a good time.

“We are kind of a shoestring operation,” Prather said. “We put all our money into the program rather than the facility. We are really, really excited about what they are going to be doing for us.”

Prather said his organization rents the building from the city and that the day-care center serves frail people older than 55. It is open Monday through Saturday and offers exercise classes, educational talks, music therapy, pet therapy and a place for people to socialize, Prather said.

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All Christmas in April volunteers will gather at the Costa Mesa Senior Center before going to various sites to do the work.


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